WaPo Continues Enjoying Success Under Jeff Bezos; Susan Wojcicki Talks YouTube

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WaPo Media Services

The Jeff Bezos-ification of The Washington Post is proceeding apace. WaPo’s publisher solution tech platform, called Arc Publishing, is already profitable with a small customer base and may soon generate considerable revenue. The Argentine publisher Infobae just signed up, joining Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and a fistful of smaller, local US pubs. That may sound like small potatoes, but Arc’s price point is $10,000 to $150,000 per month, so it won’t take a zillion contracts to get a nice thing going.

Digital Koi In TV’s Pond

Susan Wojcicki has had a storied career at Alphabet – renting out her garage and three rooms to the fledgling Google, building its ad business and then driving the YouTube acquisition. Now she’s CEO of the video platform, which “boasts more than one billion users but little to no profit,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Jack Nicas. YouTube faces immense competition from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon, to name a few. But Wojcicki tells him, “In some sense, our biggest competitor is the traditional way of watching TV. It’s such a big space, and there’s so much opportunity for everyone.” Read the Q&A.

Second Bite

In a bombshell for developers, Apple’s App Store will begin selling search ads in the US this fall. “We’ve designed several ad formats optimized for App Store user experience, which we automatically create for you using the title, description and imagery you provided to the App Store. Your app description will be used for ad copy,” the company wrote in a Developer page blog post. It’s a CPC format, so payment is tied to a download, though Apple says 65% of all downloads in the App Store come directly via its search box. Apple will also allow subscriptions for all app categories and use a more generous rev-share model with successful developers. These are big, big changes, but so is the drop in Apple’s stock price from around $130 last summer to $99 today. More at the Verge.

No Vacancy

In other app-world news, the app biz is apparently dead. Even the biggest apps are seeing a major growth slowdown (research shows a 20% year-over-year average drop for the top 15 performing apps, with only Snapchat and Uber defying the trend). Of course, once you have hundreds of millions of users, or 1.65 billion in Facebook’s case, growth rates aren’t so important. But “if you are an independent app developer or publisher, you have probably known this for a while,” writes Peter Kafka at Recode. ComScore data shows almost two-thirds of US smartphone owners download (drumroll…) zero apps per month. More.

Cue Garment Rending

Broadband providers have turned up the volume on their objections to an FCC plan to toughen privacy rules for their industry. In a blog post, two ISP/telco trade groups implored the agency to “abandon its flawed approach and harmonize privacy regulation for broadband providers with the well-established and effective approach implemented and consistently endorsed by the FTC and the Obama administration.” More at MediaPost.

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